President Kiir visits Southern Sudanese,talks referendum at Iowa State University

AMES, Iowa (NSV)--President Salva Kiir of Southern Sudan arrived Sunday evening at Iowa State University to an enthusiastic crowd of Southern Sudanese, many of whom came from the mid-west as well as some  distant or neighboring states just to welcome and to listen to their leader speak three months before the January 2011 referendum on the independence of Southern Sudan. According to the organizers of the event, close to 3,000 people were in the hall for the speech.kiir

Following in the footsteps of the late Dr John Garang de Mabior, Salva Kiir Mayardit came back for an opportunity that allowed him to criss-cross the United States. The President first met with the congressional members of the US Black Caucus at the Foundation's 40th annual conference, where he had productive discussions with them about the future of Southern Sudan,acnowledging the existing solidarity while also urging the international community to play its observer role as far as holding the two referenda on time.

Kiir’s arrival in Iowa was described as a homecoming. Dumach of  the SPLM U.S National Secretariat  several times reminded people of the emotional significance of the same place where Dr Garang stood 8 years ago, when he sold his ideas of the comprehensive Peace Agreement. Mr. Dumach said the connection developed by Iowa States University is enduring, adding the Iowa State University has produced our leader, Dr John Garang de mabior and continues to enroll many Sudanese. It is now clear that we will have Iowa States University in Southern Sudan, he suggested.

Prior to coming to Iowa, Kiir also spent few hours in Tennessee briefing boht Sudanese and their American friends.

Mr. Kiir was introduced Dr. Brian Silver, a long time friend of Dr. Garang, who made references to significant relationship he had the former SPLM leader. Both were students at Iowa State and later lecturers at Khartoum University before Dr Garang joined the SPLM.

Brian said president Kiir deserves praise because he “maintained a functional government in Southern Sudan and most importantly unity among southern Sudanese people”.

Mr.Kiir gave a vivid tale of a building that sustains several structural damages to drive home the issue of Sudan. He said if even this building is renovated and rebuilt, it will always leak when it rains.  And he said, to many Sudanese people that have lived outside Sudan for many years, and especially those living the United States, you are welcome home, but the problem is when you catch  a fish and roast it , you do not want to give that which has bones to a child.

 Mr.Kiir meant his leadership will first remove all the bones in the fish before Southern Sudanese living abroad could come home and actually eat.

The president said the government of Sudan has dragged its feet as far the implementation of the Comprehensive Peace Agreement. He said the history of marginalization dates back to 1956 when the Sudan gained independence from the British but over the years the people of Southern Sudan have been generous holding out hopes that government in Khartoum would change. The government instead has thrived on dishonoring deals it makes with Southerners, making this particular unity not any attractive.

The president resorted to using an illustration common among some cultures, saying when a girl reaches a certain age, she will always need jewelry for her to attract handsome men. The father would always want to buy her rings, shoes, nice clothes in order to bring wealth. The Sudan government for the last years has failed to deliver protocol promises they had signed in the CPA, and have played games that hurt Southern Sudanese.

To make unity attractive, Kiir said the government of Sudan was expected to launch infrastructure development in the southern Sudan and they have failed in the front. The people of Southern Sudan are tired of being deceived and given promises that will never be fulfilled. 

The president asserted that they will provide an opportunity for people of southern Sudan to enjoy a fair voting process. The president alluded to his election and said that if the people of southern Sudan have given him 93% of votes in the last election, he is confident enough those same citizens of Southern Sudan will this time vote 100% for their best choice between Unity and Separation.

Gabrial Pager Ajang contributed this report from Iowa State. He is a graduating senior at the University of Nebraska Lincoln. He can be reached @ This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..">This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..


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